Injury-hit Wales size up Wallabies

Thu, 18/11/2021, 06:00 am
AAP
by AAP
A strong half from England secures the win for the hosts at Twickenham

Nick Tompkins has underlined Wales' desperation to "finish on a high" when their injury-hit autumn series campaign concludes against Australia.

Wales, who have had to contend with a number of injury setbacks in recent Tests, host the Wallabies on Saturday.

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Their hefty list of absentees includes British and Irish Lions like Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Ross Moriarty, Taulupe Faletau, Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi and George North.

With head coach Wayne Pivac due to name his starting line-up on Thursday, prop WillGriff John and lock Will Rowlands have been released back to their regions after suffering head knocks, while Tomas Francis (concussion), Josh Adams (calf) and Aaron Wainwright (shoulder) remain under assessment.

Pivac has used close to 40 players across Tests against New Zealand, South Africa and Fiji, and more changes are expected for the Wallabies' Cardiff visit.

But Wales' situation has also seen the emergence of flanker Taine Basham and lock Christ Tshiunza, while Basham's back-row colleague Ellis Jenkins has made an impressive return following a three-year absence from international rugby due to injury.

"It's difficult as you don't have those settled leaders you have had in the past, so others have had to step up, and have been doing so brilliantly in my opinion... ," Wales and Saracens centre Tompkins said.

"What you have seen is that transition, and it is good to have that exposure."

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With Wales less than two years out from their next World Cup campaign, Pivac arguably now has more selection depth than at any time during his two-year reign - especially when everyone is fit.

"We desperately want to finish on a high," Tompkins said.

"It shows that if there is depth like that, it's pushing players that maybe would be in the team harder, so it is only going to get better for the national team and the squad." Wales have won their past two encounters against Australia, including a pivotal 2019 World Cup group victory - after a run of 13 successive defeats in the fixture.

Success this weekend would send them into the start of a Six Nations title defence next February with spirits high

"They play free-flowing rugby, they work hard and move the ball a lot, so it is going to be a lot of running and a lot of the ball on the field," Tompkins said of Australia's challenge.

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